Newquay Zoo is working with conservation charity Save Vietnam’s Wildlife to save the world’s most trafficked animal, the pangolin. These prehistoric-looking creatures are hunted profusely in Vietnam for their meat and scales.

Although illegal, pangolin hunting is still rife in Vietnam. Pangolin meat is in high demand and is sold as a luxury item. Their scales are also sold for medicine and wine and their skin for shoes and bags. Hunters will go to great lengths to capture a pangolin, setting up traps and chopping down trees to reach them. This, and the extensive deforestation taking place in Vietnam, means that the country’s wildlife is very much under threat.

Supported by Newquay Zoo, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife has been battling to help these beautiful creatures. The charity rescues pangolins and educates people on the dangers of hunting and the importance of protecting wildlife. The charity has so far released over 200 pangolins back in to the wild, and is working closely with rescue centres and the local government to both protect them and increase the sentence for hunting.

Stuart Muir, Director of Living Collections at Newquay Zoo explains the Zoo’s part in the programme: “We have been supporting this vital work in Vietnam for many years. In the beginning, it was hard to get anyone to listen about the plight of the pangolin but, at last, the world seems to be waking up to the very real threat of extinction that this charming and unique animal faces. It takes tremendous effort from our team to rescue and rehabilitate the pangolins but the fact that we are releasing so many animals back to the forest is truly fantastic.”

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